Seedfolks Lesson Plan
- Grades: 6–8
About this book
Seedfolks is a wonderful exploration of character development and will empower your students to want to do more to positively affect the environment. My students loved the ending when they could see how the characters were coming together to create this community garden. Paul Fleischman's writing style makes the reader begin to really care about each character and his/her life.
Students will use sequencing to analyze characters' actions as the cause or effect of the main plot in the story.
- Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
Set Up and Prepare
Have students independently write a definition for the word "community" on a piece of paper. Take up this paper until the students finish reading the book. Preview the cover. In most printed editions, the cover is organized with pictures of the characters in a square format that is similar to the opening of "The Brady Bunch," a family sitcom that aired in the 1970s. Lead a think aloud about similarities and differences between the characters. Count the number of females and the number of males. What nationalities do the characters represent? How old do the characters seem?
Each chapter introduces and gives the life tale of a different character. Have students, either individually or in small groups, create charts of information about each character, including actions and traits.
Use a highlighter or bright marker to circle all of the actions written on the character charts. Have students write these actions in chronological order. Ask students to go back and identify events that may have caused other actions. Have students draw arrows from the causes to the events that are the effects. Lead students through a discussion that completes this idea that each person did something to influence the next person to do something. Identify the theme of the novel, reminding the kids that one possible theme is "Every little bit helps."
Pass back the definitions of "community" that were written at the beginning of the unit. Ask students to reflect on the previous definition and revise what's recorded as necessary.
Supporting All Learners
Any student can relate to the general theme of the story, that we all must work to positively affect our community. However, there is one chapter in the book that deals with pre-marital sex, pregnancy, and abortion. The issues are handled in a way that with a mature group of students and some patient conversations, the book can still be taught and enjoyed. On the other hand, the book is still an effective piece of literature if the chapter is skipped or if the teacher prefers to teach this story as a read aloud, skipping over this one chapter. Just remember to read ahead of your students, which is always the best way to prepare for a read aloud.
As a whole group, discuss how one person can have a major effect on the environment and/or another person's life. Give students time to reflect on how this theme applies to the personally or to the school community as a whole. Have students make some goals of the little things each of them could do to positively affect the school community or a bigger community.
Find a section or space on school grounds that needs a little attention. Ask your students what could be done to improve this part of the campus. Set aside time when students could follow through with some of their goals, some of which could involve this part of campus.